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Musings - Will eventers ever buy youngsters bred for the sport?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
    Indeed, that's the sad thing about the BNT recommendation that started this thread. I've found out from direct experience in talking now to a fair number of BNTs that eventers aren't real aware of what goes on in the hunter world--and as a result, there don't seem to be a whole lot of BNTs who realize the impact of the hunter industry on the price of a nice young horse. The way the sport is going, with more and more emphasis on dressage, is only going to exacerbate that as the need for a really good mover becomes more and more paramount. In short, the competition for that really nice youngster is going to keep its price well out of the range of the "average" (or maybe, put more accurately: the "most populous") event horse buyer, IMO.
    I guess I know know different BNTs...most UL event riders that I know understand that a quality 2-3 year old NOT off the track is going to run 10-20K...because they are marketable to the hunter world or dressage world as well. Perhaps an all TB one MIGHT be priced slightly lower but not much. A nice horse is a nice horse and if the breeders current owners have knowledge....they will price the horse accordingly. Those BNT that have those nice youngsters are RAREly buying them themselves but are riding them for the breeders or have owners that buy the prospects. There is a market for them...but it is a small market. The largest market for event horses is the lower level ammy market....and most of those riders are NOT looking for young green prospects.
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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    • #22
      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
      There is a market for them...but it is a small market. The largest market for event horses is the lower level ammy market....and most of those riders are NOT looking for young green prospects.

      I agree with this. I think it depends on what one is looking for. If I were looking to make it at the upper levels, I'd want to stack the deck in my favor. I think there is a market there. But as a lower level ammy, I'm happy to just plug along on my inexpensive, yet wonderful, OTTB.
      Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean someone's not following you.

      Comment


      • #23
        Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on it, bornfreenowexpensive. I'll admit I was thinking about the following statemetns from early on in this thread:

        ...at the Area II Meeting with Phyllis Dawson, Kim Meier, and Courtney ...All of them agreed that the homebred young horse on the whole was a lot better bargain in terms of risk and investment, and in terms of trainability, than an OTTB.
        I don't see how they can be "a lot better bargain" given the price of a good prospect, not if it's priced as you and I have stated. At least with the OTTB, you'll find out some essential things pretty quickly (like trainability, size, substance, courage, soundness) and pretty indisputably. With the baby, no matter how well bred it is, breeding is still not a science--you can't know for sure whether that baby is going to have what it takes. Seems to me that if you add it all up, you could go through half a dozen OTTBs (to find the real and lasting talent) in the time it would take for you to discover the same in the youngster.

        But then again, maybe that's a subject for a different discussion: If you are breeding for the upper levels (and thus willing to put out $10-20K for a two-year-old, as bornfreenowexpensive indicated), how much of a guarentee IS the well-bred homebred (in terms of "making it")?

        And then there's the cost of the made eventer to consider, too. Why pay $10-$20K for a two-year-old when you can buy a proven yet still young horse for what? Twice that, maybe? I'm as disappointed as the next person that UL event horses go for so little compared to their hunter and jumper cousins, but doesn't that, too, have to be factored into the challenge of breeding and selling a youngster specifically for the sport?

        Granted, IMO, on the flip side of all this is the fact that if you breed for eventing, you are also breeding "for" hunters and jumpers and even dressage, unlike the other way around. So I'm not saying one shouldn't--that's for sure. But I do think expecting a significant number eventers to pay the price for them that h-j-d does doesn't reflect reality. Would that it did!
        Sportponies Unlimited
        Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

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        • #24
          I dont' know, proven young horses around here at least are going through the roof. If its doing novice, is brave, a nice mover, and has jumped some big fences, it is $18-20K at least, possibly more. I have a client looking for an uncomplicated, decent Novice horse that might, possibly, go training, for under $10K and am finding the pickings slim.

          You can find some bargains but they tend to have issues.

          Jennifer
          Third Charm Event Team

          Comment


          • #25
            ok, i said eariler that only have one mare that i breed to a quality tb stallions here in town. i have a 4 yr.old that is one of the fanicest hunter types i have seen in awhile. he is priced at 30k. and have interest, he has only been under tack 11months. so yes, the hunter types will bring more money. i have two ottb's also. one is a novice packer ready to go training, never raced. and a 5 yr.old raced 5 times but makes a noise at the canter. he just did c.c for the first time with ralph hill in a c.c. lesson. ralph said he is one of the nicest most honest young horses he has seen in awhile. he is 15.3 and that has made it hard for me to sell him. if he was 16.0 or 16.1 he would have been gone forever ago. seems that everybody is looking for a big horse. not sure why? so i agree that ottb's or homebreds can both do the job, just depends on how much work you want to put in. of course something going is going to be more expensive, we had to put the work and training into that horse before said buyer buys it. or buy a youngster and see how much work and money really go into training one from the ground up.so i guess i agree with both sides.
            www.camaloufarms.com

            ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"

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            • #26
              Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
              Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on it, bornfreenowexpensive. I'll admit I was thinking about the following statemetns from early on in this thread:

              I don't see how they can be "a lot better bargain" given the price of a good prospect, not if it's priced as you and I have stated.
              I am learning first hand how much more of a bargain buying a nice, young, well bred WB is over an OTTB. I lost my shirt on my last couple horses, in between temperment issues and soundness issues, and dealing with all the re-training and baggage and heartache. So I spent 6 months searching high and low for something purpose bred and it's been such a different experience! I got lucky in the sense that I bought my new mare for not much more than OTTB prices, just barely broke but a well bred Hanoverian who happened to not grow enough for her breeder to keep her. She has her baby moments but it's so wonderful not having to teach her basic things like engagement, suppleness or rythym. I am finally after several years enjoying going to the barn and riding everyday. For me it's been much cheaper to spend a little money up front this time and buy something that as been bred to do what I want to do.
              On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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              • #27
                I'm a minority in that I PREFER to breed and raise my own. I have a small farm where I can and have done, and I consider myself lucky to be able to do so.

                The biggest problem I see for breeders is that there is not market for a foal, especially a well bred one. The average buyer whats something 4 and older, AND broke and going. Most breeders can't raise them for four years and get them trained for less then $8000, and thats if you are raising them like cattle.

                So then the question becomes "What are eventers willing to pay for that broke and going 4 year old?" Because the average eventer/buyer right now wants it for less then $10K, which gives the breeder of that foal NO profit to show for the hard work, sweat, and tears that went into it.

                Just my two cents,
                Megan

                Comment


                • #28
                  Here's a question for the breeders who have posted - what do weanlings and yearlings tend to sell for - by selling early you save yourself the time/feeding and initial training fees that would make the horse substantially more valuable but people don't want to take the risk (and time) of a really young baby.

                  I'd be more inclined to buy a weanling than a 2 year old since i have the space and the time (and hopefully, now the know-how) to bring along another young horse. I would be less inclined to get a 2 or 3 year old because if they've been running around in a herd without much handling that's not a project I want to deal with.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    ...at the Area II Meeting with Phyllis Dawson, Kim Meier, and Courtney ...All of them agreed that the homebred young horse on the whole was a lot better bargain in terms of risk and investment, and in terms of trainability, than an OTTB.
                    That isn't quite right. I was at the meeting, and I am the one that ASKED THAT QUESTION.

                    The question _I_ asked was whether it was a better gamble to buy an OTTB or to BUY (not breed) a wellbred but unbroken weanling or yearling.

                    They agreed that it was a better gamble to BUY a wellbred youngster than to buy an OTTB.

                    That is a SIGNIFICANT difference.
                    Janet

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      that is my point

                      [QUOTE=gillenwaterfarm;2094589]"The biggest problem I see for breeders is that there is not market for a foal, especially a well bred one. The average buyer whats something 4 and older, AND broke and going. Most breeders can't raise them for four years and get them trained for less then $8000, and thats if you are raising them like cattle. "[QUOTE]

                      This is exactly the point I was trying to make...it is expensive to train a horse to even the novice level. There are plenty of people willing to pay the increased cost for a horse with the proper training & experience, but far fewer willing to pay even 8K for a green broke horse that hasn't been off the farm.

                      Breeders who are not interested in training shouldn't wonder why the prices they get barely cover their costs. Most people know the expensive part is yet to come (training / competing).

                      OTTB's are bargains since you can hop on their backs right away and (with luck) get them going prelim in 2 years. A successful horse at prelim has roughly the same profit margin - whether it came from the track or was imported from England, or was breed specifically for eventing.

                      Anyone who wants eventing to be more like Hunterland & Dressageworld should be careful what they wish for!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I am an eventer that buys young unbroken horses from the breeder. But, except for the one I bought 19 years ago, I doubt I covered the breeder's costs (and I doubt I covered the breeder's costs on the one I bought as a green broke 5 yo either).
                        Janet

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          not likely in my case

                          I might buy a youngster bred specifically for the sport - if - it fell into my lap and it was cheap. I'm not one to spend a lot of money on purchasing horses - purchase price is no guarantee of success or soundness. Fortunately, I’m one of those types who likes to bring along green horses and I do it for myself not for resale.

                          Over the last 25 years, I have had 6 OTTBs. 5 of them have gone on to compete – the 6th is still too young to compete yet. Of the 5, 2 have gone on to the Intermediate level. The grand total cash outlay for all 6 has been $4,200 (that is total – not per). My current competition horse cost $500 and despite the fact that most events don’t offer cash prizes he has managed to win back more than his purchase price.

                          So with that in mind, you’re far more likely to find me on the back side of a track looking for my next horse. All horses are a gamble and I just prefer the penny slots to the high roller tables.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I lost my shirt on my last couple horses, in between temperment issues and soundness issues, and dealing with all the re-training and baggage and heartache.
                            But that's just your experience. Your system may have been a bit flawed, while those that produced Nova Top (I think), Tsunami, Poggio, The Foreman and the like have better systems and so perhaps less risk (in the sense that they test and reject more quickly, perhaps, that you did--and so don't lose quite so much...all "perhaps," BTW).

                            In other words, just because some "lose their shirts" on the OTTB, doesn't mean that others do--in fact, I dare say there are quite a number of pros out there in various sports making a decent living off of finding, developing and reselling the OTTB.

                            On the other hand, I can see the point made when Janet asked her question: for those WITHOUT the system to develop the OTTB, buying a baby MAY be less risky since at least you can do something with it, even if it doesn't make it up the levels (because it's still a well-bred and probably sound, typey, nice moving beastie, unlike the way some OTTBs may end up).

                            But we've moved away in this discussion from the most essential determinant: the facilities, time and funds to raise a baby-baby. Someone asked "what do you sell your weanlings for," BTW. I'm no expert on weanlings because I don't even try to sell mine, but hanging out on the sport horse breeder's forum has pretty much hammered into my head that NO ONE except those with enormous financial backing and the contacts that come with it sell weanlings hardly at all. There's always some thread or another bemoaning that fact. Americans don't buy weanlings. Americans don't want to wait. Americans rarely have the land to raise them.

                            I dunno, folks. I just don't see much point in belaboring a point that only applies to and/or is relevant for a few people.
                            Sportponies Unlimited
                            Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              But that's just your experience. Your system may have been a bit flawed, while those that produced Nova Top (I think), Tsunami, Poggio, The Foreman and the like have better systems and so perhaps less risk (in the sense that they test and reject more quickly, perhaps, that you did--and so don't lose quite so much...all "perhaps," BTW).
                              Or maybe just bigger numbers. In the panel mentioned at the beginning of the thread, Phyllis said she has probably bought 200 OTTBs. Of those only a handful have made it to the upper levels, about half have made low-mid level eventers, and the rest have gone to other careers, from hunters (field or show) to dressage horses to trail horses.

                              The numbers work out OK when you CAN turn over 100 looking for THE one. They work out very differently when you have to choose ONE- or even just one at a time.
                              Janet

                              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Pwyn,
                                I actually do sell and advertise my weanlings/yearlings. I only have 1 for sale right now, and he has had 2 people out to look at him so far ( and I hope to buy!) I can usually sell them for between 6500 and 8500 as babies and then up to 10k as unbroken 2 year olds. They are handled daily, yada yada and I have had an advanced and Intermediate and several prelim horses ridden by ammies and pros alike. The only ones I haven't sold before breaking are ones I have kept for a little while b/c I wanted to see how they would develop( or they were chestnut mares....)

                                I find some of them sold as dressage prospects that are now eventing later on under different owners. I guess I would love to see eventers more willing to wait - to buy a nice prospect and wait, instead of instant riding. Dressage people do - hunters don't. Is it b/c we want instant gratification or is it b/c people don't have the place/time or knowledge to break or raise them - I don't know.
                                Interesting to hear the reasons brought up though. I guess since i wait and ride my babies, it is hard for me to think about people who consider it such a long time. I guess breeding is more a long haul thought process, so a few years is small change when I think about the generational aspects of my breeding program
                                http://www.cngsporthorses.com

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I can't add much-- most of it has already been said.

                                  For the breeder's price to recover the cost of producing a quality young (unbroken) prospect, it is just easier to get castoff TBs from the racing industry. It costs money to feed and keep any horse; why would I want to buy a weanling, keep it for 3 years, and then figure out that it doesn't want to be an event horse? Maybe I could make money back selling as a hunter or dressage horse... maybe not. OTTBs are similar, but you don't have to wait 3 years. Get a 3y/o off the track, you have a better idea of what you're buying. You figure out in a year how successful he is as an eventer, and keep him or sell him. Sure, you have OTT issues-- soundness, etc-- but at least you have a developed animal to start with.

                                  I'm not saying sport-bred horses aren't worth it-- last year I started a WONDERFUL 4 y.o. Hann/TB who is fancy, a fabulous mover, excellent jumper, has heart, talent, and personality plus. He did quite well in the YEH series this past summer, as well as regular HTs (ridden by trainer, not me, he's not mine). From the first day I first sat on him, he was easy. Dressage and jumping comes so naturally to him-- breeding DOES make a difference. Who knows how far he'll go in eventing, but everybody loves this horse... hunters, jumpers, dressage people. That's why breeders do what they do, for horses like that. It's very, very hard to find any OTTB as nice as this guy. However, his price (if he were ever for sale, even as a weanling) would be way, way beyond a my budget. (He's probably worth every penny... but meanwhile I can get a good TB under 10K and have it going intermediate in two years.)

                                  Still... breeding is such a crapshoot; for every 1 exceptional horse, there are maybe 10 (+/- ?) average ones. That's how we end up with OTTBs in the first place-- race breeding "failures." And in that industry, there is PLENTY of money, plenty of resources to produce *the* best horses for their purpose. Yet how many are successful, and how many aren't? That's what makes me skeptical... living in the middle of TB breeding land, all the big farms and big bucks, and yet so few "make it." Breeding is so risky-- buying babies is so risky. How many seven-figure Keeneland yearlings actually live up to their price? Some of the best-bred, best-conformed individuals just lack athleticism or the desire to do their job. (We won't discuss the "breeding for breeding..." philosophy.) It doesn't matter that his daddy won the Triple Crown and his mommy sired two stakes winners... he might still be a dud but no one knows until he's a 3 y/o.

                                  I prefer to let someone else raise them, it's just easier to see what you have when it's wearing a saddle. I like a nice-moving, sound, athletic young horse no matter what-- whether it's OTTB or sport horse. But it comes down to it that the TBs are usually more affordable, making their risk more appealing; you may have to do some thorough searching to find a nice one, but it will be cheaper than a comparable WB cross. Horses are horses... any of them can colic, run through a fence, or get hurt doing something stupid; breeding and price can't prevent that.
                                  “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                  ? Albert Einstein

                                  ~AJ~

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    For us, it's a matter of economics:
                                    1. OTTB's -- unlimited resource, buy 10 of them as 3 year olds at $1500 per (we don't like to pay LESS, because those are the injured ones), turn out for 6 months. In next 6 months of riding, 2 wash out of the program and we wholesale them (usually mental issues, sometimes health but not usually), 6 are Novice/Training candidates, and 2 are upper level candidates. All 8 are doing Training within a year, and the UL candidates will do Prelim in 18 months (one this year ran his first prelim, successfully, in 3 months). So, in one year, I've got 2 at $600, 6 at $15000, and 2 at $25000 minimum. Roughly $150,000 on $15,000 investment plus $50,000 cost (average cost for us is at least $5,000 per horse per year). So, we've netted about $80,000 for our efforts, and/or we have 2 Advanced prospects plus $30,000 for expenses.
                                    2. Warmblood/ 3 year olds. Pay $15,000 each for them, generally futz around at Beginner for a couple of years waiting for them to grow up. When we do show, we usually win because their dressage and "style" is superior to the TB's at the lower levels (our OTTB's move up so fast we rarely ribbon at the lower levels; Randy's first blue ribbon was at Intermediate). Finally run Novice in the third year, Training in the fourth. So after 4 years I've got $20,000 in expenses, $15,000 in capital, and a $20,000 horse that odds are is too slow and/or too behind the leg to do upper level stuff. The OTTB's generally catch the WB's at about the preliminary stage & pass them in both ribbons and scores. So, for each WB I start, I'm losing $15,000 every 4 years on the off chance that I find one that fits eventing. Less work with the WB's (fewer horses) but more time and lose money unless I hit the jackpot.
                                    3. Warmblood/foals. Can probably get a superior animal for less money at this stage, say $8,000. Hope it's better -- if my eye is good enough. Hope he doesn't get hurt and washed out of the program (odds increase with each year of retention). But I just added 3 years to the development cycle, so now on a comparable basis I'm something like 6 years into the program, with $30,000 in operating cost and $8,000 capital versus a $20,000 horse. That math still isn't very good. And when you're losing money on each horse, you sure as hell can't make it up on volume.

                                    That's the conundrum, and it may actually be simpler than that. I think most eventers just take the OTTB because we don't have much money, we don't have much time, and we can be having a hoot on a fast horse in 6 months or so, with the chance to win the lottery if our eye and our judgement is good enough at the track. If not, we haven't lost much and can go do it again. And the satisfaction of making your own, successful horse...........

                                    Unfortunately or fortunately, in the real world, we do all of these things -- our philosophy is to buy when the right animals become available, not just when we're looking. We bought a 3 year old Holsteiner a few years ago on that basis, and he was/is spectacular (but turned out to be a better hunter than eventer). We bred an Anglo-Trakehner, so I've got 3 years invested in a 2-year old Windfall baby with another year to go before we back him -- and then another year before he events. And we just bought a Wap Spotted grandson, 5 months old, so loudly colored that we issue sunglasses to our boarders -- just because we've always wanted one.

                                    So, we break our own rules, we pays our money, and we takes our chances!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      If you can get a nice TB for under $10K and have it going intermediate in 2 years, let me write you a check!

                                      Or do you mean "I can find a nice TB for under $10K, and if it is the one out of twenty that I buy and work with that has the ability, it can be going Intermediate in two years"? I think we are back to looking at the numbers. If one out of twenty has the ability to go intermediate (which considering they are not even bred for that purpose, is pretty good), and you can keep, say, five horses in work at a given time, and you give each horse six months to go through basic training, that puts you at four years to get a horse to Intermediate, meanwhile paying board for at least two of those years on five horses at a time... or at least feeding them if you have your own barn.... if paying board that is about $18K/year, if just feeding them that is around $8K a year.... not to mention lessons and training expenses.....

                                      then I look at the many succesful offspring of particular horses (say, a Fine Romance for instance, or Fleetwater Opposition, or Stream Lion, etc.!) and I think "Hmm, maybe I'd rather stack the deck, pay $10K for a nice yearling, pay $1500/year to feed it until its four, or $3600/year to board it, and in five years instead of four maybe I'll have an Intermediate horse. And if not its a fancy youngster and I can sell it as a Hunter/Jumper/Dressage horse and maybe come close to breaking even."

                                      Of course a promising youngster can have an accident or many other things, as can an OTTB, and each has its advantages and drawbacks. I think it is a very individual thing, but I think that eventing is starting to move toward purpose-bred horses an increasing amount. but there will always be a place for the OTTB for those who would rather put in the legwork and save money (or at least spread out the expense over years and multiple horses instead of putting all the eggs in one basket, as it were).

                                      Jennifer
                                      Third Charm Event Team

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                        Or maybe just bigger numbers. In the panel mentioned at the beginning of the thread, Phyllis said she has probably bought 200 OTTBs. Of those only a handful have made it to the upper levels, about half have made low-mid level eventers, and the rest have gone to other careers, from hunters (field or show) to dressage horses to trail horses.

                                        The numbers work out OK when you CAN turn over 100 looking for THE one. They work out very differently when you have to choose ONE- or even just one at a time.
                                        That's absolutely right. A local woman (the one I got my 3 OTTBs from) has brought several horses up through Advanced and 3* level, but to get those half dozen? She's gone through literally hundreds, as many as 10 come through her barn a MONTH from the tracks. She makes pretty good money flipping them quick. Funny enough the one she is currently competing and keeping for herself is a Han/TB gelding she happened upon cheap.

                                        We see in CA more and more people importing nice purpose bred event horses from Europe, and I think, at least here on the West Coast, we are going to see more and more people raising event horses from youngsters.
                                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                                          If you can get a nice TB for under $10K and have it going intermediate in 2 years, let me write you a check!

                                          Jennifer
                                          Of course it's all about luck. No 20 horses for me... got one, and got a good one (with help of course, wouldn't trust my eye alone). I'm definitely aware that this is the exception to the rule (the one horse, cheap, working out successfully, and quickly). But it's true. I took on a TB as a resale project... turned out so good I sold her to myself! I got lucky. My intentions were to take a 6 y/o TB (not off the track, I might add... failed broodmare), start her at novice, sell her at training for $10+K within 6 months. I ended up keeping her, from 1st novice to prelim in 6 months, from 1st novice to Int in 18 months. Special horse, special case. But aren't we all looking for that special horse? I just happened to get lucky. Probably won't happen again, which is why I *didn't* sell her.

                                          You may have the odds in your favor looking for an event-bred horse, but the price may not be. That's all I'm saying. Sure, I'd love to put all my eggs in a better basket, but I just don't have the start-up funds. The way I see it, only a small percentage of horses make it past prelim, no matter what they are or where they came from. Stack the deck in your favor if you want, but that still does not guarantee success. If I ever come upon a supportive sponsor, I'll gladly take on sport-bred horses. But as long as I have to spend my own money, I'm forced to look within my means...and unfortunately those horses are out of reach.

                                          Here's how I see it: in theory (!!!), it's easier to make money (in the EVENTING market) off a horse that cost you $5000 than one that you spent $15,000 on. Let's say in this area, N/T horses are $10-20+K (very, very loose range), T/P is 15-30K, P is 20K+, Int is 30K+. Say the $5K and $15K horse progress at about the same rate... you can make a much quicker profit off the $5K horse. Get him solidly to novice, ready to go training, and he's ready to sell. The $15K prospect has to be going training+ before you recoup his purchase price (nevermind the expenses). Now of course the $15K horse is *probably* much nicer, fancy, and may sell easier... or he may not. There are still enough buyers out there that want a safe, steady horse (and the lower price tag); not necessarily the uberfancy or the UL prospect (and the higher price tag). All depends on your market... a lot depends on luck.
                                          “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                          ? Albert Einstein

                                          ~AJ~

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